ADT vs. Ring Alarm Review
As home security systems go, ADT and Ring Alarm could not be more different. ADT is the oldest name in home security. Everyone’s going to recognize the logo on your yard sign. Ring is more of a scrappy, start-up-turned-Amazon product. Ring: you install yourself. ADT: the professionals install for you.
The differences extend to the price too. ADT is expensive. Really expensive. Whereas Ring has the cheapest professional monitoring prices we’ve seen. From anyone. Ever.
|Monitoring price range||$36.99–$62.99/mo.||$0–$10/mo.|
|Contract length||36 mos.||No contract|
|Contract cancellation fee||75% of remaining contract||N/A|
|Smart home integrations||Z-Wave, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa*||Z-Wave, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa|
|Starter kit price||Unknown||$199|
|Mobile app control||Yes**||Yes|
|Learn more||View Plans||View Plans|
Data effective 2/7/2020. Offers subject to change.
* Smart home support not available with all monitoring plans.
** Mobile app control not available with all monitoring plans.
What we like about ADT
ADT has been around for a long time (over a century), which is probably why everyone knows the name. If you did an on-the-street-style interview and asked everyone in sight to name one home security company, we’d bet our life savings ADT would be the first name out of everyone’s mouths.
That name recognition isn’t for nothing. The whole goal of a home security system is to never have to use it. If your yard sign alone can deter potential burglars from giving your house a shot, then ADT has done its job.
Plus, ADT’s system has full smart home support and professionally installed equipment. This isn’t a DIY setup over here. Nah, the pros will do everything for you.
What we like about Ring Alarm
Ring Alarm is a bit of a new kid on the block. The system debuted in 2018, which means it’s like 100 years younger than ADT. But Ring is the system of the people—you don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment, and you can set up everything yourself.
And when we say you don’t have to spend a fortune, we mean it. Ring has just about the most affordable equipment and professional monitoring pricing we’ve ever seen. And if you don’t want to spring for professional monitoring, then you can monitor the system yourself for free through the Ring mobile app.
Plus, Ring still gives you cool tech features like Z-Wave support for all your smart home devices.
What we don’t like about ADT
ADT is not for the budgetary faint of heart. It has the most expensive professional monitoring prices of any other alarm system we review. And it’s hard to say how much you’ll spend on equipment, for three reasons:
- ADT doesn’t advertise its equipment prices anywhere. We can’t even tell you how much a basic starter kit costs because we don’t know. Every time we’ve asked, we’ve been told that “it depends.” So take that as you will.
- ADT isn’t just a single company. It uses a network of third-party contractors and distributors, and those third-parties can have different pricing from ADT corporate.
- You don’t actually know your final equipment price until the day your system gets installed. You can add or remove sensors and devices the day of, so the price won’t be final until you sign on the dotted line.
Suffice it to say, ADT is a bit complicated. And it has a few holdovers of traditional home security companies that we don’t love, like three-year contracts with hefty cancellation fees.
What we don’t like about Ring Alarm
Ring’s system might be tech-forward, but it doesn’t always look it. Its security sensors are a bit clunky. For example, its door and window sensors are bigger than average so you’ll likely notice them more. (If you’re particularly worried about aesthetics, we recommend Nest Secure instead.)
There’s also the issue of Ring’s cameras. Ring makes some pretty great cameras, actually. They’re way better than ADT’s. But there have been some huge security concerns with Ring cameras lately that make us reluctant to recommend them.1,2
Which one should you choose?
If you want a reliable, professionally installed security system with tech-forward features (and you don’t mind paying extra for it), then ADT is a solid choice. If you want a budget-friendly security system with simple equipment but good smart home support, then Ring Alarm will be kind to your wallet.